A statement of case in civil proceedings is a document that sets out the facts of someone’s case on which they seek to rely in legal proceedings. The claimant’s statement of claim, the defence, and any counterclaim, are all statements of case.
Statements of case enable the parties and the judge to see the other parties’ position on the issues in dispute. They should set out the whole picture and enable the judge to make an informed decision as to the claim, and any defence and counterclaim put forward in response.
Statements of case may refer to the relevant law but their primary aim is to set out the facts of the case or defence in sufficient detail. These facts must be clear and concise, and not contradictory. A statement of case may also include details of witnesses on whom the party intends to rely upon.
Particulars of claim
Particulars of claim are a vital part of the claim form (the claimant must complete a claim form in order for proceedings to be served by the court). The particulars of claim are either served on the defendant with the claim form, or served separately within 14 days of service of the claim form on the defendant.
There are important rules in relation to the form and contents of a claim form (set out in Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) Part 16). The claim form must contain a statement of case, set out the nature or the claim, the remedy or sum that is being sought, and any interest and costs being claimed. If the claim is for money, for instance, in respect of a debt owed, a statement of the amount claimed must be included.
If the particulars of claim are complex and extensive, they will most likely be set out in a separate document.
Form of particulars of claim
The CPR require that the particulars of claim must contain specific information, including:
- a heading (containing the title of the proceedings, the relevant court, full names of the parties);
- numbered paragraphs;
- numbered pages;
- the name of the person who drafted them (the claimant or, if drafted by a lawyer – your solicitor’s name or their firm’s name);
- a concise statement of the facts on which the claimant relies;
- a signed statement of truth – confirming that all facts stated in the document are true.
The defence and counterclaim
The defence is the defendant’s statement of case in response to the particulars of claim. If the defendant wishes to make a claim against the claimant, this should be done in the form of a counterclaim which usually forms part of the defence. The defence (with any counterclaim) must be filed at court and served on the claimant no later than 14 days of service of the particulars of the claim.
The defendant will then serve their defence on the claimant. The claimant must then file a reply to the defence.
In its defence, the defendant must state which allegations in the particulars of the claim form are denied, which are admitted, and those they are unable to admit or deny – and therefore requires the claimant to prove. If the defendant denies any of the allegations, the defence must clearly state why – together with their version of the facts if different from the claimant’s account.
The defendant must deal with each allegation carefully and require the claimant to prove those allegations which the defendant is unable to admit.
If there are any allegations to which the defendant fails to respond in the defence, these will be deemed to be admitted by the defendant. Any allegation relating to money will be required to be proved by the claimant unless expressly admitted by the defendant.
Form of the defence and counterclaim
As with the particulars of claim, the defence (which includes any counterclaim) must include certain information, including the heading, the defendant’s address and a signed statement of truth.
How to write statements of case
Ideally, you will have a solicitor to draft your statement of case in the prescribed form. Your solicitor will require all the details relevant to your claim or defence to ensure your statement of case is as complete and accurate as possible.
If you are writing your own statement of case, you can download the relevant forms and guidance from the judiciary.gov.uk website.